Game Day Preview: Mets (54-54) at Phillies (60-48)

Kevin McAlpin covers the Phillies for 97.5 The Fanatic. Get the latest Phillies news on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin)

No Howard?  No Utley?  No Victorino?  No problem!  The Phillies haven't seemed to miss a beat as they enter a three-game series tonight against the Metropolitans.  Coming into play Friday, the Phillies have won three-straight and 12 of their last 14.  Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz are pitching in with timely hitting, and reserve back-ups like Ross Gload and rookie Domonic Brown have come up big in the clutch.  Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.86) gets the nod tonight for the Phils coming off a no decision Saturday in DC.  Over his past seven starts, Blanton's 1-1 with five no decisions.

Mets hand the ball to 23-year-old southpaw Jonathon Niese (7-5, 3.78) tonight coming off a dreadful outing Sunday where he allowed a career-high seven runs in just 4.1 innings to the Diamondbacks.  Since the All-Star break, the Mets have won just six of their 20 games.  Away from Citi Field, New York is just 6-17 in their last 23 road contests.  The last time these two clubs met was May 25-27 as the Mets swept the Phillies and shut them out in all three games in Queens.

Entering play tonight, the Phillies find themselves just two games behind Atlanta in the NL East, and a game-and-a-half from the Wild Card leading Giants.  Since July 22, the Phillies have posted the best record in the majors at 12-2.  During that span, they've outscored opponents 76-43 and are currently one-game ahead of their pace from 2008.

Welcome Home:  This weekend marks Alumni Weekend.  Tonight, Darren Daulton will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  More than 45 former Phillies will be present this weekend including Jim Bunning, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Greg Luzinski and more.  If you're heading to the park tonight, the fesitivites for Darren Daulton begin at 6:45, first pitch tonight at 7:35.

Phillies line-up:  Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Polanco 3B, Sweeney 1B, Werth CF, Francisco RF, Ruiz C, Valdez 2B, Blanton P.


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